A Message from Our Minister

This solstice, I clipped branches from our cedar tree that are overhanging the driveway and laid them down on the walk to the front door where a wooden snowman waits to greet visitors. It felt festive. Whether or not there are reindeer and a sleigh arriving soon with Santa, what is arriving tonight is the longest night. The deepest night.

May this be a night of peace and rest–one in which to lay your burden down and light a candle or sit by a small lamp. I invite you to give thanks for what you can be thankful for, and lament that which is painful and difficult. Tomorrow, we begin the return in our Northern Hemisphere towards the light. And we remember the ordinary blessing of each year’s renewal.

After Christmas Eve services this Sunday, I will be taking vacation through Jan. 4, and then study leave, returning on Jan. 15. During study leave, I am still available for pastoral care emergencies. I will not be regularly monitoring email, so the best way to get in touch with me is by phone: (360) 851-9603.

Looking back 

Here are some highlights of our ministry together in the first 5 months of our congregational year:

  • Program: The Program Committee and I planned a full congregational year including engaging speakers on the Soul Matters worship themes. We held a service leader training, and updated the service script.

  • Pastoral Care: The Lay Pastoral Care team and I completed a review of our policies and procedures. While that may not sound all that exciting, it was satisfying to remind ourselves what we do and why. We have a wonderful team who reaches out and offers a listening ear and support when our members experience a serious illness, go through surgery, or have a death in the family.

  • Shared Ministry: The Committee on Ministry and I have been brainstorming and trying on ways to encourage anti-racist, intergenerational collaboration within the congregation through Sunday services, education on pronouns, and supporting the Social Justice team’s partnership with Community Passageways.

  • Board: I’ve supported the Board’s effort to engage committees in reviewing their charges; introduced a policy on Healthy Communication Steps, and enjoyed the board-organized Thanksgiving potluck.


Looking Ahead

During my study leave, January 5–14, I’ll be reflecting on and preparing to work with VIUU in these areas:

  • Program: I will be researching the worship themes through June and preparing for Sunday services. As a liberal faith tradition, we are always learning. So I’m looking forward to engaging the Program Committee in creating criteria for assessing our Sunday services.

  • Pastoral Care: I will shift some focus from individual pastoral care to communal pastoral care. As the vote on the proposed Article II approaches, there will be needs for care as long-time UUs (and likely some newcomers) wrestle with and react to this significant change in one of our faith tradition’s guiding documents. I will be organizing a listening and learning session.

  • Shared Ministry: With the Committee on Ministry, I will be organizing some opportunities for the congregation to learn and practice Healthy Communication Steps, so that we have some shared ways of getting back to clear communication when misunderstandings come up.

  • Board: I plan to continue our work of clarifying roles and responsibilities within the congregation. It’s through our roles that we function well as a team of lay leaders and volunteers. And I’m looking forward to supporting our Membership committee in developing pathways to become involved in the life of our congregation.


Wishing you all blessings of comfort and joy along with the cares and concerns of this holiday season. I’m looking forward to re-gathering in the New Year!

With gratitude,
Rev. Victoria